Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Restoring American Educational Exceptionalism

Our own Justin Paulette has a new piece out in the Daily Caller on the rise and fall of the American educational system and how to restore it to its former glory. He lays out clearly how the United States was transformed from what Tocqueville once referred to as a greater mass of enlightenment than Europe to a nation outdone by the likes of South Korea, Hong Kong, Finland, and Singapore in international student evaluations, and how we can fix that. From the rise of secular education due to nativist concerns over Catholic immigration to the conquest of the universities by progressives to the passage of No Child Left Behind, the bureaucratic entanglements throttling our educational system are legion-- but still capable of being defeated if given the chance.

The progressive theories which shattered America's academic dominance rejected the millennia-old wisdom that knowledge stimulates understanding, which reciprocally enables the absorption of further knowledge and stimulates further understanding. The paradigm of progressive education is not the ethical transmission of accumulated knowledge from one generation to the next, but an abstract and subjective exercise in revolutionizing how students learn and think in a politically correct environment unpolluted by institutional trivia and socio-historic debris.

Read the whole thing.
Categories > Education


Democracy Run Amuck: Anti-Semitism in SanFran

One of the major problems with California politics is the power of ballot box initiatives. With just 12,000 signatures, anyone can bring any issue before the voters on the ballot. No more is the lunacy of this more clear than with the travesty that is the proposed ban on circumcision that will now be on the ballot in San Francisco this November. The new law will make it illegal to circumcise any male under the age of 18, punishable by a fine of $1,000 or a year in jail. It will not pass, and in the very off-chance that it does, courts will readily and easily strike it down as unconstitutional. However, the very fact that it was allowed on the ballot in the first place is another sure sign that California's precarious experiment with direct democracy has gone horribly, horribly wrong; voters must now be subjected to paying for and actually voting on an initiative that is anti-Semitic at its core.

With no known ill-effects to circumcision, no objections by pediatricians to the practice, and some suggested medical benefits to it, the initiative holds no weight to proponents' claims that circumcision is akin to genital mutilation. This is a proposed law that is specifically targeted at a particular part of the community. Though those arguing for it speak in vague terms of mutilation, the actual text of the proposed law reads, "No account shall be taken of the effect on the person on whom the operation is to be performed of any belief on the part of that or any other person that the operation is required as a matter of custom or ritual." The law is designed to end a practice that has been a part of Jewish (and Muslim) culture for thousands of years-- something that is as key to their beliefs as baptism is to Catholics. Even more, it seeks to further take away the power of decision-making from parents and further solidify the power of government over childcare. It is an egregious assault on religious liberty and the power of parents, and the fact that it is now being treated as a legitimate political discussion is revolting. One can only hope that such ilk does not spread further than the Bay Area.
Categories > Politics


How to Change Washington

As several media sources have noted by now, Barney Frank has admitted that he helped his boyfriend get a job at Fannie Mae, the federally backed mortgage giant, which Frank, as a Congressman, would help to regulate.  A decade later, Frank would argue against the Republicans who were worried that Fannie Mae and its sister organization were making too many risky mortgates.  Frank suggested that it was prudent to roll the dice, and not crack down on risky mortgages.

Frank complans that:

"If it is (a conflict of interest), then much of Washington is involved (in conflicts)," Frank told the Herald last night. "It is a common thing in Washington for members of Congress to have spouses work for the federal government. There is no rule against it at all.

There is, of course a difference between having a family member or close friend who works somewhere in the federal government, and getting an organization over whom one has power to hire a friend. As the Boston Globe notes, at the time Frank called Fannie Mae and asked them to hire his boyfriend, he was in a position directly to help or harm Fannie Mae.

But it can be difficult to determine who is, and who is not, in a position of influence.  And Frank's larger point is correct.  Nowadays, it seems that most of our important politicians have spouses and other close relatives who are in the same business, or who stand to benefit from their actions.  That was always the case to a certain degree--just look a the Kennedys and Fitzgeralds in Massachusetts, among other cases.  But the rise of the two career couple has drawn the circle tighter.

That being the case, I suggest we regulate such nepotism (and its close associated) much more heavily.  Given the rise of the two-career couple, such regulation may very well reduce the importance of Washington, DC in American life, by making it a harder city for political couples to live in.  It just might return some political influence from the ceter to the periphery, rendering our government closer to the people.  Even if it won't make much of a difference in that regard, it would be good for the rule of law, by reducing the importance of special connections among parts of government.

Categories > Congress


Alea Iacta Est

The die is cast. Jonah Goldberg recalls these immortal words of Julius Caesar as he crossed the Rubicon, entering Italy with his army and starting the civil war with Pompey Magnus that would begin to put the lid on the coffin of the Roman Republic. Caesar's tremendous victories against overwhelming odds are one of the most fascinating parts of the man's story. Pompey was the greatest general alive, having destroyed the pirates of the Mediterranean and temporarily pacified the eastern empire. He controlled Rome, had legions of trained soldiers at his disposal, and was backed by the Senate and the noble classes. Yet, outnumbered seven to one, Caesar managed to annihilate Pompey's forces and make himself the undisputed master of Rome. As Goldberg points out, it is very much because Caesar and his legions had but one choice: victory or death. Caesar was fighting for his very existence; Pompey's soldiers had other options.

He declares the recent election for the 26th congressional district of New York to be a political Rubicon (though, it is worth noting as Pete does below, that the 26th, like the historical Rubicon, is just part of a larger problem). Taking aim at Republican plans to fix our entitlement programs and avert the coming crisis that will result of out-of-control spending, the Democrats are going all-in, waging everything on their offensive against this plan. Unable to defend unpopular or difficult-to-explain policies like Obamacare, the Libyan Civil War, outrageous gas prices, and how much the boondoggle of a stimulus package didn't fix the nation's economic woes, their only defense is an offense-- one that worked in New York.

The 2012 and 2016 elections may likely be some of those rare events that fundamentally reshape the American political regime. The question of the role of the Constitution rightly understood in American politics has been brought to the forefront of the national debate, a century's worth of history culminating in a fight between federalism and progressivism for the political soul of the nation. Like the elections of 1800, the 1830s, 1860, the 1900s, and the 1930s, the results of these elections may set the tone for political debates in this nation for decades to come. The Democrats, realizing that the threat Ronald Reagan first posed to the progressive regime has finally grown powerful enough to potentially restore a constitutional order, are scrambling now to do all they can to save that which was built by Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson, and Obama. It is no mere coincidence that the ascension of the first powerfully progressive president since LBJ coincided with the rise of grassroots constitutionalism in opposition to that, and the Democrats realize this. Some, recognizing the progressive miscalculation concerning American attachment to that piece of parchment, have started the all-too-late enterprise of trying to reclaim and redefine the Constitution.

In that endeavor, though, they will likely lose. Though the progressive establishment gained intellectual control of the American academy fifty years ago, the depth of their philosophy has greatly shallowed. Gone are the John Deweys and other great philosophers of progressivism, the intellectual extent of the modern academy being unhealthily narrowed to specialty subjects like Gender Studies or other aspects of so-called sociology. Conservatism does have the upper-hand on philosophy, and has since the 1960s, and it will be difficult for the Left to claim constitutionalism for itself. This is why some, like Pete Stark and Nancy Pelosi, appear flabbergasted and dismissive when the subject is raised, and why rather than seeking to defend their policies in light of this debate, they are on the attack. They realize, perhaps better than many Republicans do yet, that the current fight is for the shape of our political soul. They realize that whichever party loses in 2012 or 2016 will either be destroyed or at best forced into a long age of minority. A realignment of our politics and political parties is on the horizon, and the Democrats are putting it all on the table for their survival.

Republicans need to realize this too. They need a standard-bearer capable of both making the principled argument and inspiring people; they need policymakers capable of both strengthening the constitutional order while recognizing political realism. They, too, need to be prepared to match the Democrats and go all-in in order to reposition themselves as the party of optimism, of liberty, of prosperity, of hope, and of the future. They can start by not stooping to extremist fear tactics and continuing to trust in America's ability to have a clear and serious discussion on our political life. As Goldberg points out, it's their choice to be either Pompey or Caesar in this fight. The Rubicon has been crossed, the die has been cast, and we are moving towards political realignment. It's an exciting time to be paying attention and involved.
Categories > Politics


Sowing And Reaping

Peter Suderman is must reading for understanding the left's head start on the right on health care and entitlement policy.  Sobering (shaming?) reading. 
Categories > Politics

Picture Worth a Thousand Words

Dominique Strauss-Kahn meets President Obama and the First Lady at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh:


Obama's Advantage

This Shelby Steele piece considers the problem Obama poses for Republicans: there has always been a disconnect between his actual performance and his appeal.  Steele puts it this way:   "There have really always been two Barack Obamas: the mortal man and the cultural icon. If the actual man is distinctly ordinary, even a little flat and humorless, the cultural icon is quite extraordinary. The problem for Republicans is that they must run against both the man and the myth. In 2008, few knew the man and Republicans were walloped by the myth. Today the man is much clearer, and yet the myth remains compelling."  Read the rest and ponder it, keeping in mind his recent European trip and performance.
Categories > Elections


GOP's Economic Reset

From The New York Times:

House Republicans will seek to reset the economic-policy debate Thursday, offering a broad plan to boost jobs and growth by easing tax and regulatory burdens.

The plan includes a 25% top tax rate on corporations and individuals, compared with the current 35%, as well as higher domestic-energy production, new curbs on government regulations and overhauls of U.S. patent and visa systems to help entrepreneurs and high-tech firms.

Reflecting the GOP consensus that tax increases won't be a part of any eventual budget deal this year, the plan calls for "significant spending cuts" to rein in government deficits.

Categories > Economy

Pop Culture

Happy Birthday, Star Wars

34 years ago today, in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars hit the silver screen.

Just for perspective, I was 3 months old.

Categories > Pop Culture

Quote of the Day

Cleese on Terror

You may have heard it before, but it bears repeating.

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent Terrorist threats and have therefore raised their security level from "Miffed" to "Peeved." Soon, security levels may be raised yet again to "Irritated", or even "A Bit Cross." The English have not been "A Bit Cross" since "The Blitz" in 1940 when tea supplies nearly ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "Tiresome" to "A Bloody Nuisance."  The last time the British issued a "Bloody Nuisance" warning level was in 1588, when threatened by the Spanish Armada.

The Scots have raised their threat level from "Pissed Off" to "Let's get the Bastards."  They don't have any other levels.  This is the Reason they have been used on the front line of the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "Run" to "Hide."  The only two higher levels in France are "Collaborate" and "Surrender."  The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability.

Italy has increased the alert level from "Shout Loudly and Excitedly" to "Elaborate Military Posturing."  Two more levels remain: "Ineffective Combat Operations" and "Change Sides."

The Germans have increased their alert state from "Disdainful Arrogance" to "Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs."  They also have two higher levels: "Invade a Neighbor" and "Lose."

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual; the only threat they are worried about is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy.  These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Australia , meanwhile, has raised its security level from "No worries"  to "She'll be right, Mate."  Two more  escalation levels remain:  "Crikey! I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend!" and "The Barbie is canceled."  So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

- John Cleese, British writer, actor and tall person

Categories > Quote of the Day


Thoughts On NY-26

1.  People are panicking for the wrong reasons.  The public retreat from the Republicans came before the Ryan budget dominated the political debate and the most recent Mediscare.  As Henry Olsen pointed out, the Republicans did quite badly in the Wisconsin judicial election that was won by the right-of-center David Prosser (the judicial election happened the same week that Ryan rolled out his budget, but it wasn't an issue in that election.).  Prosser only won because he did unusually well among African Americans (compared to Scott Walker in last November's election), and African American turnout was low for the election.  The fact that it was a formally nonpartisan election probably helped Prosser because he was less associated with the toxic Republican brand.  Republican candidates won't have that option in 2012, and Obama being on the ballot should boost the African American turnout.  The most ominous sign from Wisconsin and New York is the shrinking Republican margins among white voters.  Republicans won white voters by huge margins in 2010, but those margins have receded - and it isn't just Mediscare.  There are long-term problems of coalition formation here.

2.  Note to future Republican candidates: don't let the Democrats of the hook.  Elections need to be choices between different approaches, not referendums on the Republican approach.  Don't complain that the Democrats don't have a plan.  This is a case where nothing beats something.  The Democrats are the party that has already cut Medicare by hundreds of billions for current seniors.  The President has proposed a further cut of over a trillion dollars in Medicare to current seniors to be enforced by a bureaucrats.  And the deficit isn't sustainable even with those cuts  The Democrats are the party of centralized benefit cuts, middle-class tax increases, and fewer jobs.

3.  Having said all that, the Ryan budget really isn't good enough.  Here are Ross Douthat's reasons why.  Here are my (mostly second-hand) reasons. 

4.  There is a chance for the Republicans to have a really stupid internal debate about where we go from here.  One lousy argument will be to retreat to Newt Gingrich nonsense about cutting waste and promising a "national conversation" as a debt crisis comes ever closer.  Another (better, but still misguided) approach will be to turn the Ryan budget into some kind of Republican orthodoxy.  I want to see Republican politicians and candidates offer their own policies on entitlements and health care policy and those who do so should be welcomed if they pass two basic tests.  First, the policies should realistically address our fiscal problems.  Second, the policies should have some hope of competing for public support (this last is more subjective of course.)  Newt Gingrich's waste cutting strategy and Gary Johnson's proposal to immediately cut Medicare by over 40% and block grant the program each fail in a different way.

5.  Someone needs to tell Newt Gingrich that we are already having a national conversation on entitlements.  This is what such a conversation looks like.  This is, more or less, what such a conversation was always going to look like.  Plans are going to be articulated and compete in the political marketplace.  Conservatives should be open to constructive criticism of Ryan's plans, but should not despair.  The first step is the arduous and thankless task of public education.  I'm sure glad Paul Ryan is still out there fighting.  We need more Paul Ryans (with slightly different plans.)

6. Okay, maybe a little despair is in order.  I don't think that any of the current Republican presidential candidates are going to be much help in winning the public argument on entitlement reform.  I hope I'm wrong, but the biggest cause for Republican concern has little to do with the incompetence of the New York Republican Party.  But even if I'm right, politics won't stop in November 2012.  The Democrats didn't just start fighting for Obamacare in January of 2009.  It was a long march.  Good for them.  We should have equal persistence.  Or as Reihan Salam wrote:

The whole brouhaha is a reminder of the need for the right to think long-term. The health reform debate played out as it did because social policy scholars like Jacob Hacker thought deeply about the defeat of Clinton's Health Security proposal and they designed a new approach designed to survive the rough-and-tumble of the political process. To win these fights, policymakers need a half-a-loaf strategy, i.e., fallback options for when they run into resistance. The defeat of the public option was, for health policy advocates on the left, a relatively minor loss, as the likely trajectory of health costs in a tightly centralized system built around subsidizing coverage with a high actuarial value all but guarantees the need for aggressive cost containment measures in the future. Win now, or win later

7.  The alternative is for the American center-right to become like the Greek center-right and offer policies that nibble around the edges of the economy's problems and hope to have a share of power until the smash comes.  Our smash would end up looking different from Greece's for lots of reasons (this is probably an optimistic scenario), but the alternative to some kind of serious reformism is going to be some kind of ugly.

8.  Dave Weigel has the rundown on the role of Republican incompetence and infighting in losing NY-26.   

Categories > Politics


The Worth of Education

The first lesson taught to me upon entrance into the Ashbrook Scholar Program was what "school" meant. It gave me pause when asked to define something that had been an almost-central part of my life and those of all I knew. After struggling for a few brief moments to try find a definition, its etymology was revealed to be Greek in origin, of course. Schole is Greek for "leisure," and gives us our school. The first thing that Ashbrooks come to appreciate even before delving into the great questions of good and justice is that we have the tremendous opportunity to indulge in the leisurely study of the liberal arts because we do not have to spend all of our time working in the field just to feed ourselves. One can only explore these noble studies if one does not need to work. It then follows that education is itself an end, not a means to an end, and our studies were to help us figure out what that end was.

In the midst of this recession, as families lose much and thus increasingly lose their ability to enjoy leisure, many have turned their pens against the modern college, questioning if it is "worth it" to study. The question is itself very much right to ask, but mostly because over the past half-century we have redefined what worthy means in regards to a university education. The radical transformation of colleges has redefined education in general in our nation, and for most now the worth of an education is judged by its cost-effectiveness and the economic status it gives those who chase it. College is no longer an end, but a means-- the supposed path to a marketable resume and a better job. The modern academy helped push along this transformation in thinking itself, and finds itself under the belief that it needs to evolve to keep up with the new way of thinking of colleges. For many, now, college is but a four-year vacation from life that gives people a Bachelors degree at the end-- something which itself has been watered down from being a symbol of a well-educated, well-rounded student of the arts and sciences to essentially another high school diploma.

Rather than seeking to shape our culture, the academy insists on bending to its every whim and pleasure. It is not enough to have a bed, a dining hall, good books, and thoughtful teachers-- universities must be palaces offering unparalleled amenities and rock-climbing walls to its students. Students cannot be pushed too hard or given bad grades-- it's bad for business. No, let them choose from a cafeteria of tasting courses so that they can think they are trying a bit of everything while instead focusing on those business degrees and not really bothering with art, Shakespeare, or silly old Socrates. However, universities should start to seriously rethink their unyielding desire to spoil rather than challenge their students, because many of them are beginning to realize that the exorbitant costs associated with such things are not worth the price, especially in a recession. Today the average student graduates with over $23,000 worth of debt-- and are starting to question why they spent all that money now that they can't find a job.

The Pope Center's Jenna Ashley Robinson has a good series of articles looking at the potential economic ramifications of the "College Bubble" that has been created, highlighting the stark contrast between the 1940s and today. In the beginning of the last century, most people acquired the skills needed for their work from on-the-job training or life experiences, and universities were mostly private institutions that people went to if they could afford it but otherwise were not of central importance to the economy. As the century progressed, so did the belief that everyone not only should attend college, but must attend college if they want to do anything. Following this trend, the cost of higher education grew dramatically--286% from 1990 to 2010 alone. This has created a new bubble, she argues, with skyrocketing prices and what might be temporarily excessive enrollment numbers. Students do not see value attached to their costly degrees anymore. If colleges do not do some reevaluating of what School means today, then when this bubble bursts there will be empty palaces full of leftover Natty Light cans and dirty plastic cups across the country.

A college education is an excellent thing and I certainly wish all who want it had the means to enjoy it. But, for it to be worthwhile colleges have to understand what an education is worth. Yes, we need people trained to be doctors, mechanics, teachers, lawyers, physicists, accountants, and engineers-- but the education has to be about more than just job training and economic value. Instead of a college education being focused on a career, it should be focused on preparing individuals both for their chosen path in life but also for living as free and thoughtful human beings, the liberal arts being central to this noble goal. Young people realize this; they know they are not getting what they deserve for these exorbitant prices they pay, yet they continue to pay them in the hope that, just maybe, they will come across an educator willing to help fan that flame of intellectual curiosity burning within their souls. They want to be challenged, and until universities realize that they will face a bleak future went people stop wasting their money on a four year vacation. There are, thankfully, such wonderful things as the Ashbrook Scholar Program here helping young people to truly enjoy school and fighting the good fight for the study of the liberal arts. Good for us.
Categories > Education

Shameless Self-Promotion

Okay, I Give In . . .

. . . to Peter's taunt below.  I've been getting prepared for testimony this afternoon at 2:30 to a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on the subject of the UN climate negotiations.  Here's my opening:

The international diplomacy of climate change is the most implausible and unpromising initiative since the disarmament talks of the 1930s, and for many of the same reasons. . .  the Kyoto Protocol and its progeny are the climate diplomacy equivalent of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 that promised to end war (a treaty that is still on the books, by the way), and finally, future historians are going to look back on this whole period as the climate policy equivalent of wage and price controls to fight inflation in the 1970s.  

And it'll get better from there.  (I'll post the whole thing after it's all over.)


Oil Markets

Why isn't Hayward promoting himself?  Here is his piece Troubled Outlook for Oil Markets.It always amazes me how he can something naturally obscure quite clear. Thanks.
Categories > Economy


Buffalo Swings?

Will the Dem victory in the NY 26th make the GOP retreat from Ryan?  Henry Olsen notes the loss of blue-collar voters, while a local Buffalo reporter vividly portrays the maladroit GOP contender.    

The politics of the Ryan roll-out did not boost my confidence in the possibility of its success.  Talk about the importance of "beginning a debate" is really an invitation to demagoguery, as was the case in the 26th.  Churchill said that in wartime truth needed a bodyguard of lies.  In this war the other side had the lies, while Ryan had a kind of inconvenient truth.  Simply unveiling a controversial budget plan and expecting reasonable debate to ensue is an act of self-immolation.

Categories > Politics

Refine & Enlarge

Commerce Clause

This week's Letter from an Ohio Farmer is on the Commerce Clause.
Categories > Refine & Enlarge


Pawlenty-Bachmann 2012

- Justin Paulette, May 25, 2011

Categories > Elections

Refine & Enlarge

Netanyahu on Hannity

Continuing my video trend today, here's the Israeli Prime Minister on sean Hannity's show earlier today. Excellent commentary from Netanyahu.

Categories > Refine & Enlarge

Refine & Enlarge

Netanyahu Speaks to America

Netanyahu spoke today before a joint session of Congress. The speech must be viewed in the context of Obama's earlier comments about Israel, but it should also be received simply as an excellent American speech contemplating democracy and liberty. Scott Johnson calls the speech "Churchillian."

Categories > Refine & Enlarge

Foreign Affairs

Obama at AIPAC

Obama's AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) address is worthy of attention. For commentary, see Powerline's 10 theses and follow-up, and then watch Netanyahu's address.



Categories > Foreign Affairs



Oh those Canadians.

Kathy Witterick, 38, and David Stocker, 39, are raising their third child, Storm, to be free of societal norms regarding gender. Is Storm male or female? The parents won't say, so no one knows except Storm's older brothers, Jazz and Kio, as well as a close family friend and two midwives who helped deliver the baby.

Luck Storm, Jazz and Kio to have life-partner parents who aren't constrained by silly "social norm" ... like biology. Practitioners of that pseudo-science called psychology "saw several advantages to the atypical scenario, including true self-determination for Storm."

A pro-family group summed up the situation rather succinctly by noting: "The vast majority of people have enough common sense to recognize that this is lunacy."

Categories > Bioethics


Relax, In A Tense Kind Of Way.

Let's take the NY-26 special election in stride.  If the Democrats win that Republican-leaning district, we are not doomed.  If the Republicans hold on, we are still in trouble.  There will be plenty to talk about tomorrow either way.  Let's hope Republicans don't learn the wrong lessons.
Categories > Politics

Foreign Affairs

The Epic of Strauss-Kahn

The French have made a bid to replace their fallen countryman at the IMF with another of their own. Nothing to see here, according to the French, just move right along.

While many in the EU (particularly France) reflect on this international incident as merely an opportunity to criticize the American justice system, some American writers are contemplating the event as a social commentary on the state of modern Europe. According to Ross Douthat at the NY Times:

In the hands of the right screenwriter, Strauss-Kahn's arrest could be the central thread in one of those sprawling, complex, kaleidoscope-of-globalization movies that aspire to Oscar glory. Think "Traffic" or "Syriana," "Crash" or "Babel": the kind of movie that leapfrogs around the planet, shifting from place to place and perspective to perspective in an effort to bring an entire Big Issue into focus.

Instead of the war on drugs or race relations in Los Angeles, though, the subject of this movie would be the potential collapse of the European Union.


no creative mind could have dreamed up an allegation better calculated to vindicate the perception that today's Eurocrats are just a version of the old European aristocracy -- exercising droit du seigneur in high-priced hotel rooms while they wait to catch a first-class flight to Paris.

Categories > Foreign Affairs


Welcome To The NFL

This post should help Herman Cain talk about Middle East issues as it relates to current Israeli-Palestinian disputes.  It isn't really a substitute for having thought things through, but it is probably enough to get past an interview with David Gregory on a Sunday morning.  And isn't that the most important thing? Cain also seems to be planning to tell us his Afghanistan strategy sometime after he is elected President (before the end of his first term I hope.)  Softball interviews on ideologically friendly opinion-oriented programs (even if they are labeled news) are lousy preparation for the questions and scrutiny you get when running for President.  Good for Chris Wallace.
Categories > Politics

Foreign Affairs

Pope to Heavens: Can You Hear Me Now?

Pope Benedict XVI blessed the Endeavour astronauts in the first Vatican-Outer Space conversation in history. The conversation and perspectives from space are quite interesting.
Categories > Foreign Affairs


Pawlenty Champing at the Bit

Pawlenty has announced - a day ahead of schedule - that he's in the race for the presidency. His announcement video takes direct aim at Obama, declaring that he - unlike Obama - will tell you the truth and face America's hard decisions with courage. It's effective. His story is compelling. And with Daniel's departure, he's the conservative heir. Pawlenty is the man to watch.

Categories > Elections


Jindal-Rubio 2016

Daniels is out.  I guess I'm for Pawlenty (very provisionally.)  Mostly I'm going to be watching a lot of Twilight Zone reruns.

Categories > Politics


Obamanomics at 22 Months

USA Today reports on the state of our economic recovery as compared to other recessions in our nation's history. As the chart below displays (by showing recovery rates 22 months after each recession formally ended), this "recovery" is the worst in history.

Several factors, no doubt, contribute to our present misfortune. But one cannot ignore Obama's egregious and unparalleled stimulus spending. Government spending is pretty much inversely proportional to job growth. This is partly because a great deal of stimulus cash was funneled to Democratic constituencies or immediately circulated into government coffers to pay off state debts, rather than being applied to private contracts which might have "stimulated" the economy. However, the overarching explanation is that Keynesian economics is bunk and uncontrolled government spending ruins economies.

While true believers will argue ad infinitum that external factor explains Obamanomic's failure to launch, the experiment cannot be said to have failed for lack of trying. Obama has spent with reckless abandon and promised to keep the tap flowing. It's hard to imagine anyone seriously arguing that we should (or could) have spent more money than we have. And the result it evident.

Albert Einstein's famous quote seems to apply. "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." An Obama victory in 2012 would reveal either that American's have no knowledge of the facts or that they meet the criteria of Einstein's definition.  

Categories > Economy


Homeless in Hollywood

Citizen-activists, local businessmen, churches, and charity groups are coming together in Hollywood to help address the tremendous homeless problem in the area. Working apart from the bureaucratic mess in Sacramento and only with the Department of Veteran Affairs on the federal level, this grassroots effort to help get the most at-risk individuals off of the streets is so far being met with success thanks to the coordinated efforts of these individuals and the generous donations of local businesses; over $100,000 has been raised and another $700,000 routed from county funds to create 200 permanent housing units. Volunteers have been combing the streets, alleys, and hillsides to document the homeless population and determine which individuals are most at-risk, and slowly moving them over into housing. The L.A. County Department of Mental Health is on hand to assist those with disabilities, and the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is involved to make sure veterans are getting their benefits. It's a good example of people coming together to solve the ills of their community, tailoring their efforts to the particular problems their neighbors face. Good for them.
Categories > Politics